For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 19, 2003
Remarks by President Bush and President Arroyo in An Exchange of Toasts
The State Dining Room
8:33 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT BUSH: Madam President, Attorney Arroyo, it is a high honor for Laura and me to host you at the White House. Madam President, I know you attended college here in Washington, so perhaps I should say, welcome back -- or, as they say at Georgetown, Hoya Saxa. (Laughter.)
With your visit, the Philippines and the United States affirm our strong friendship, our common commitment the fighting terror, and our shared determination to promote freedom.
Our nations are natural partners. We are connected by an ocean, united by a shared history, and sustained by the bonds of family and culture. More than 2 million Americans have family ties to the Philippines. Some are with us tonight, and you're welcome. Filipino Americans strengthen America's culture, our economy, and our government. And we are privileged that they call this country their home.
The United States and the Philippines are also joined by common values, especially the value of human freedom. And when freedom comes under attack, our countries respond.
Madam President, you've been a fierce fighter of terrorism in your own country. You've earned the respect of the American people for your resolve. And after September the 11th, you were one of the first leaders to contact me and express your strong support for the war against terror. And you have not wavered.
The President was also a strong and persuasive voice on the need to disarm Saddam Hussein and to liberate the Iraqi people.
Madam President, for your leadership and for your friendship, I thank you.
Seventeen years ago, the Filipino people restored their nation's democratic tradition and inspired lovers of freedom across the globe. In the years since, the Philippines has emerged as a stronger and more confident nation. The Philippines is building its prosperity on the foundation of markets, and building its future on a foundation of democracy. These commitments are opening new opportunities for the Filipino people, and setting a hopeful example for other nations traveling the road to freedom.
President Arroyo is playing a large role in her nation's success. Her bold and determined leadership has opened a new chapter in the friendship between our countries, and is responsible for revitalizing our strong alliance.
In his last poem, Jose Rizal, one of the founders of the Filipino independence, referred to his native land as the "Pearl of the Orient Seas." More than a century later, this "pearl" is admired the world over for its beauty, its progress, and its wonderful people.
Madam President, it will be my pleasure to visit the Philippines later this year, with you as my host. And Laura and I, and the American people are honored to have you and your husband as our guests here tonight. Would you please join me in a toast to the enduring friendship between the Philippines and the United States.
(A toast is offered.)
PRESIDENT ARROYO: Thank you, President Bush, and Mrs. Bush. Thank you on behalf of the 8 million Filipinos for honoring our country with this state visit.
The bonds between our two countries run deep. We've stood side-by-side at every crucial point in modern history. World War, the second; the cold War; Korea; Vietnam; and now, the war against terrorism.
I visit you at a time of great change -- change in the way economies work; change in the way wars are fought; change in the way countries organize or disintegrate. But in two things, there must be no change -- in the way governments treat people; and in the manner by which friends stand by each other. In the first case, with care and justice; and in the second case, with courage and steadfastness. In a time of crisis, friends do not ask, why; they ask, how.
The Philippines and America are friends. To guide our friendship in the 21st century, our meeting today was essential, so that we can develop a strategic framework for this century based on mutual respect and mutual help. Our talks focused on stopping terrorism, fighting poverty, and undertaking economic reform on both sides -- meaning, offering more markets to each other, and less resistance to mutual trade and investment.
My fundamental concern in the Philippines is the need to lick mass poverty. Central to this concern is the task of building a strong republic -- a republic able to keep crime and terrorism totally at bay; a republic free from vested and corrupt interests that subvert free markets; a strong republic empowered to execute good policy and provide essential services to all our people.
In this task, we value America as a partner, a partner in our common desire to create the kind of world in which we want both our countries to exist -- a world of progress and ever-widening prosperity; a world of justice, freedom, and peace. These are within the grasp of modern economies and modern technology, and men and women of firm resolve and goodwill.
And how do we define a man or a woman of firm resolve and goodwill? It was once thought difficult to take a firm stand against tyranny, and nearly impossible to cope with terrorism. Now, the world knows better, especially after March 20th. Indeed, it's not easy, but, clearly, it can be done, with fearless leadership and iron resolve, combined with a bold strategic vision, and an unfailing sense of justice. I'm describing President Bush.
Only a strong and steadfast partnership, such as that between our two countries, can respond to the manifold and threats and challenges that the world working towards freedom and prosperity must face. I hope ever more countries join this partnership. Two are better than one. Three are harder to break. Four and more, nothing can prevail against them.
On that note of hope for an ever-widening partnership of the good to complete the greater task of the coalition of the willing, I invite you all to join me in a toast for the continued success and good health of President and Mrs. Bush, and the relations between out two countries. Mabuhay!
(A toast is offered.) (Applause.)
END 8:40 P.M. EDT